Tuesday, August 08, 2006

PoR moving swiftly into State gas and oil sector

The new head of the State company 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' will probably be PoR representative Vladimir Sheludchenko, according to an article in 'Delo'. PM Yanukovych told the newspaper that the leadership will be changed, and, 'we will decide this question in the next few days.'

Sheludchenko, a Dontesk 'old boy', was deputy head of administration of the company until April last year. He is being lobbied by new deputy PM overseeing the fuel and energy sector, one of PoR's top men, Andriy Klyuyev.

I wrote about the state of 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' - "a financial black hole run more for the interests of the elite that the state and its customers," several days ago.

Other candidates for the position are said to include Vadim Kopilov who was head of the company between 2000 and 2002 [excellent credentials, then, ho-ho]; Anatoliy Rudnik who was general director of Ukrtranshaz; and Ihor Voronin who is presently deputy head of the State company and head of UkrHazEnerho. The name of Oleksandr Tretyakov, a close aide of the President, and linked to 'fiddles' in RosUkrEnerho, has been mentioned as a possible candidate also.

Ukraine's new Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko is the man who set up many of the shady schemes, by means of which Ukraine obtains its gas from Turkemistan and Russia. Some of these schemes are now exploited by Yushchenko and his 'dear friends'.

Its quite possible that Boiko, who is not from the Donetsk clan, was appointed Minister of Fuel and Energy on the proviso that a 'Donetskiy' be in charge of Naftohaz Ukrainy, in order to keep an eye on the money flow in the State monopoly. What Boiko does have is unrivalled informal relations with Turmenbashi, the Russians, Firtash, and other main players - very important in this business.

A highly placed source in the Cabinet of Ministers hinted that the 'Donteski' could even, in the near future, put the squeeze on the infamous intermediary company 'RosUkrEnerho', something that even Dmitro Firtash would not be able to withstand without the Kremlin's support.

A commentator in yesterday's 'Ukr Pravda' argues that gaining control over the fuel and energy sector is vital for the Donetsk financial-industrial groupings [FIGs] - the PoR's paymasters, but this could lead to some friction with power utility companies controlled by other FIGs.

The fuel and energy policies of the new government, whilst primarily protecting the interests of big business in the east of the country, could however, wind up being beneficial to the ordinary citizen, he concludes.

"All rich people in Ukraine made their money on Russian Gas" - Ihor Bakai, 1998

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